Italian records present an ideal chance to reach through the generations and build the family tree. The digitization of Italian State Archives records in Italy and published via the Italian National Archives on what is generally called the “Antenati” has been invaluable to those with Italian ancestors and lucky enough to have their State records published online. According to the Anetenati website (http://www.antenati.san.beniculturali.it), 49 state archives are available totaling over 57 million images. These records are valuable when researching both the male and female lines, but particularly for the female. The reason stems from the fact that the taking of the husband’s name upon marriage is not practiced uniformly across cultures. I and Specifically, Italian women often kept their maiden names upon marrying making the records valuable since the female surname’s could be across birth, marriage and death certificates.
A critical component to researching ancestors who immigrated to the United States or any country is being able to identify where your ancestors came from in the old country. The identification of the exact town will be very helpful to narrow a search when using the Antenati records. The Chialastri-Sapochetti line was stalled at the parents of Riccardo Filippo Antonio Chialastri and Maria Flavia Sapochetti, who were married in Italy, immigrated to the United States and are the focus of this analysis.
Riccardo and Maria were from Cave in the province of Lazio and the state of Roma. Cave is located about 40 km southeast from Rome.
Cave is on the western side of Mt. Prenestini between its slope and the Valle del Sacco.
Riccardo’s daughter, Elizabeth (Chialastri) Sacco passed down the information that Riccardo was born in 1892 in Cave to Salvatore Chialastri and Anna Maria Scacchetti. Riccardo married Maria Sapochetti, daughter of Salvatore Sapochetti and Anna Maria Cleri in Cave. Maria was also born in 1892 in Cave. Ricardo and Maria Sapochetti had the following children all born in Atlantic City, New Jersey1,2:
- Elizabeth Chialastri was born 19 November 1913.
- Nannina Chialastri was born 7 May 1915.
- Salvatore N. Chialastri was born 29 April 1917.
- Emilia Chialastri was born 12 February 1921.
- Richard Chialastri was born 26 November 1931.
Elizabeth told how sometime between 1921 and 1931, the family left the United States for Cave, Italy. According to these family stories, the children, Elizabeth, Annie (Nannina), Sam (Salvatore), and Mim (Emila) were upset with leaving the United States and threatened to leave as soon as they were old enough such that Riccardo and Maria finally settled in the U.S. prior to their last child, Richard’s birth. The immigration will be covered in a separate analysis since the focus of this work is trace the ancestors in Cave.
The 1930 U.S. Census3 entry provided the first clue to search the Antenati for marriage records for Riccardo and Maria. A census question asked the age at which they married, both indicated 20 years old. Since both were listed as 38 years old in 1930, the likely year of marriage for Riccardo and Maria in Cave was approximately 1912.
Cave records for various years for birth, marriage and death certificates were available on the Antenati website. The “Pubblicazioni di Martimonio"4, which is essentially the declaration of Riccardo and Maria to marry, typically a marriage bann. The record is dated 24 October 1912 and contains a trove information related to Riccardo and Maria.
Riccardo is 19 years old with occupation of “contadino”, farmer. His father, Salvatore, is 62 years old, also a farmer and Riccardo’s mother is Anna Maria Scacchetti, no age provided. They are all residents of Cave. Approximate birth dates calculated from the ages suggests Riccardo’s was born about 1893 close to 1892 and presents a range to search, while his father, Salvatore was born about 1850, again providing a range to search for birth records if available.
Maria Sapochetti is 20 years old, providing a birth year of about 1892. Her father, Salvatore is 65 years old, born around 1847, and he works as a farmer in Cave. An important notation is also on the form relative to Maria’s mother, it reads, “della fu Cleri Anna Maria”. This identifies her mother as Anna Maria Cleri, but the designation of “della fu” in Italian records indicates she is deceased.
The witnesses to the bank are Pietro Milani and Vincenzo Foschi. The document is signed by Riccardo, Pietro and Vincenzo.
Searching the records resulted in the Atti di Matrimonio or Act of Marriage is the actual certificate for the marriage of Riccardo and Maria. This was found as well in the Antenati records for Cave. The marriage date was 4 December 19125, no new information was noted on the record.
A family tree with some additional data was constructed based on these records.
Initial information was that Anna Maria Cleri died after giving birth to Maria. Focusing on Maria Sapochetti (b. 1892), specifically her mother, Anna Maria Cleri, who died before the Publicazzioni in October of 1912 a potential range of search years spans 1892 to 1912. The Atti di Morte for Cave includes this range and the record for Anna Maria Cleri was found, she died according to the record 1 June 19016. The record confirms this is the wife of Salvatore with the statement, “moglie di Sapochetti Salvatore”, with moglie meaning wife of.
The record indicates that Anna Maria was 48 years old when she died (quarantotto) indicating a birth year of approximately 1853. The record also identifies Anna Maria’s parents as Giovanni Cleri and Giacinta Milani. Giacinta Milani is deceased by the preposition “fu” prior to her name. It is unclear what designation proceeds Giovanni. The identification of the next generation provided enough information to search for a marriage record for Salvatore Sapochetti and Anna Maria Cleri.
The marriage record for Salvatore and Anna Maria was located in Cave records on the Antenati website and provides a marriage date of 30 December 18747. The handwriting is difficult to discern but from the left side, it is certificate #11. An important note is Salvatore is the son of Antonio, who is likely alive by the use of “di” while Anna Maria is the daughter of Giovanni, with the designation “fu” typically used if the parent is deceased. This might help clarify what precedes Giovanni from Anna Maria’s Atti di Morte where the writing was unclear.
The marriage record lists the parents for Salvatore Sapochetti and Anna Maria Cleri. Salvatore’s parents are listed as Antonio, as previously noted, and his mother is Francesca Calajacomo. The designation preceding both parents is “di” indicative that they were living at the time of the marriage.
Anna Maria’s parents are Giovanni, as previously mentioned, who appears to have died prior to the marriage. Her mother is Giacinta Renzi. This is different from what was listed in her Atti di Morte, where Giacinta Milani was identified as her mother. It is not clear from the record whether the mother is living or not. The records provided details to Maria Sapochetti’s parents and helped provide a generation back.
The focus turned to Riccardo and his family. The Atti di Morte for Anna Maria Scacchetti was located, certificate #1 dated 13 January 1918.8 Anna Maria is listed as “moglie di Chialastri Salvatore”, the wife of Salvatore Chialastri. Anna Maria was 65 years of age when she died in Cave, putting her birth year at approximately 1857. Anna Maria Scacchetti’s parents are identified and both appear to have the “fu” designation indicating by 1918 they are deceased. Her father is Francesco Scacchetti and her mother is Annafelice Traversi, both of Cave.
Salvatore Chialastri, Riccardo’s father, Atti di Morte was found and indicates he died 16 September 1919 at the age of 69.9 This suggests he was born about 1850. He is predeceased by both parents as noted again by the “fu” prior to their names. Salvatore Chialastri’s father is identified as Filippo and his mother is identified as Anna Moroni. A cross-check with regards to his wife, Anna Maria Scacchetti is provided with the statement, “vedovo di Scacchetti Anna Maria”, where vedovo means widower, aligned with the previous record for Anna Maria Scacchetti.
A final discovery was the Atti di Morte for Anna Moroni “fu Domenico” dated 3 December 1891.10 This information can add another generation to the tree with the identification of Anna Moroni’s father. The record indicates Anna is “vedova di Chialastri Filippo”, the widow of Filippo Chialastri. Her father is Domenico, deceased and her mother, Giroloma Fari, is also deceased as noted by “della fu”. Anna Moroni was 76 when she died, putting her birth at about 1815.
The records found in the Antenati provided enough information to create the most current family tree, and yielded important information to continue searching the records. Through analysis of the records, an additional generation has been added to what was known for Maria Sapochetti and two generations in part were added for Riccardo Chialastri.